Budget vote expected

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — City council members are set to vote on the FY2021 budget Monday night at 7:00.

The proposed budget is approximately $48.8 million, with roughly 32% going to the public works department, 21% to the police department and 16% to the fire department. 

Some community members have called for the council to defund police. 

Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin said for her, it’s a call to look at how the city allocates its resources. She said some responsibilities that have fallen onto the police department could be better handled by other professionals. 

“For me, one of the most obvious areas for us to look at, in fact, it’s what I’m going to be proposing tonight, is calls for service for people with mental health crises,” Marlin said. “Those happen more often than you think.”

She said she could see a different kind of emergency response structure in place in the future that would complement the police department.

“It’s easy to say defund the police, and I understand why people are saying it,” Marlin said. “But you also have to have something to replace that function and that’s the hard part. It’s getting a system in place.” 

The council also plans to vote on a resolution to support the affirmation of 10 shared principles between the Illinois NAACP and the Illinois Association Chiefs of Police. Those principles include calls for increased transparency, support for community policing and community partnerships with law enforcement, and de-escalation training. 

“I think this affirmation of the 10 shared principles is a really good tool to formulate the conversation,” said Marlin. 

City leaders hope to hold a workshop on the resolution in September, although the timing, location and size of the workshop will depend on COVID-19 restrictions. 

To see the agenda and resolutions, click here

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